Two ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr

Two ethics groups are calling on the House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General William BarrBill BarrEx-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. ‘will ignore’ Trump’s threats against political rivals Pompeo says he expects more Clinton emails to be released before election Trump calls into Rush Limbaugh’s show for two hours MORE, alleging he has used the role for political reasons to support President TrumpDonald John TrumpDes Moines mayor says he’s worried about coronavirus spread at Trump rally Judiciary Committee Democrats pen second letter to DOJ over Barrett disclosures: ‘raises more questions that it answers’ Trump asks campaign to schedule daily events for him until election: report MORE

According to Reuters, the two groups are the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law and the Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The groups wrote in a 267-page research paper that Barr has an “authoritarian worldview” that “makes him see himself as entitled to ignore laws, ethics, and historical practices” as the attorney general. The report also called on House lawmakers to begin an impeachment inquiry into Barr.

The report from the group points to Barr’s involvement in the release of the final findings of former Special Counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN’s Toobin warns McCabe is in ‘perilous condition’ with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill’s 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE‘s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election among other actions. 

It’s not the first time Barr has faced calls to be impeached. Earlier this year, Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenJewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen wins Democratic primary Democrats exit briefing saying they fear elections under foreign threat MORE (D-Tenn.), an outspoken progressive on the House Judiciary Committee, called for Barr to be impeached, alleging violations of the law.

“We should pursue impeachment of Bill Barr because he is reigning terror on the rule of law,” Cohen said in June.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes Pelosi calls Trump administration policies on testing and tracing inadequate Trump claims he is ‘immune’ from coronavirus, defends federal response MORE (D-Calif.) threw cold water on the idea, saying that voters will be able to make that decision at the ballot box in November. 

“So he is contemptible, there’s no question about that. But at this point, let’s solve our problems by going to the polls and voting on Election Day, 131 days from now,” Pelosi said at the time.

 

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Local groups hand out garden kits

Even though many local health and agriculture community groups can’t hold big events because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still at work, encouraging people to eat and grow vegetables.



Healthy kits for families


© Provided by KCRA Sacramento
Healthy kits for families

“We have seen such incredible increase in demand for local produce and also food donations and distribution,” said Sara Bernal, a program manager with the Center for Land-Based Learning.


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That’s why her organization along with Kaiser Permanente, the Latino Leadership Council, La Familia, Health Education Council and Soil Born Farms are bringing the farm to families through healthy garden kits the groups assemble and distribute to those most in need of nourishment.

The kits include vegetables — vibrant-in-color and flavor, fruits — grown at local farms, and “starts,” so people can plant their own healthy gardens.

“Everybody benefits from eating more fresh food,” said Bernal, who hopes the kits offer healthy inspiration to those who receive them. “That’s really our goal… to introduce the concepts and ingredients of fresh eating, and maybe not even introduce it, but just reinvigorate the enthusiasm for eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Doctors agree, saying programs like this spark important conversations about how good nutrition has a positive effect on overall health.

“It’s also a step towards looking at what creates diabetes in certain demographics and how can we impact that, heart disease all of the things that we do very well,” said Kaiser Permanente Physician in Chief, Dr. Rob Azevedo. “This just enhances that, but for our community, not just for our Kaiser Permanente members.”

The groups identified 150 older adults and families that could benefit from the kits which include the following items:

  • Measured potting soil
  • Fabric grow bag
  • Plant starts
  • Growing instructions
  • Ready-to-eat fresh produce
  • Recipes that incorporate produce in kit

Three different kits have been distributed to recipients over a six-week period — a welcome surprise to the seniors at the Davis Migrant Center, according to center manager Roberto Guevara.

“Most of these families just have one income and it’s a very low income,” said Guevara. “They were very grateful to be receiving this kind of stuff.”

The program is promoting an interest in eating healthier in the process of helping recipients grow the healthy food that will help them do just that.

“I can think of no other time in our history that it isn’t more important that we come together support each other and really create wellness in our communities,” said Azevedo.

The organizations also encourage novice gardeners to flex their green thumbs, reminding people that you don’t need a big backyard to get your garden growing. A flower pot on a front porch or apartment balcony is a good start.

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For 3rd Time, Groups Seek End to Trump Order on House Seats | Political News

By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For the third time in two months, civil rights groups and state and local governments were asking judges to strike down a directive from President Donald Trump that would exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from being counted when deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.

The coalition of civil rights groups and state and local governments called Thursday on federal judges in California to rule that Trump’s order was illegal, claiming it discriminates against people based on race, ethnicity, and national origin. They said Trump’s order goes against 230 years of U.S. history, will cause them to lose political representation and is discouraging people in the country illegally from participating in the 2020 census.

Trump administration attorneys say the challenge to the order is premature and should be dismissed.

The numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets is a process known as apportionment. It is derived from the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident that is set to end at the end of the month. The census also helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding annually.

After Trump issued the order last July, around a half dozen lawsuits were filed across the U.S., challenging it. Hearings on the order already have been held in Washington and New York, and a panel of three federal judges in New York ruled that it was unlawful. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The New York judges didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the memorandum, merely saying it violated federal laws on the census and apportionment. That left open the door for the judges in the other cases to rule on other aspects of the president’s memorandum. Other lawsuits challenging the memorandum have been filed in Maryland and Massachusetts, and a lawsuit filed two years ago in Alabama covers the same ground.

The California case was being heard virtually Thursday before three district judges. They included U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who last month in a separate case stopped the Trump administration from finishing the census at the of September, allowing the count to go on for another month through October. A different coalition of civil rights groups and local governments had sued the Trump administration for the extra time, arguing minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ended early.

The Trump administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to put Koh’s order on hold.

Although the legal fights over Trump’s order and when the census will end are being fought in separate court cases, opponents challenging the Trump administration say they are intertwined since the census schedule was shortened to accommodate Trump’s order.

Facing disruptions to field operations because of the pandemic, the Census Bureau proposed a new timetable in April that extended the deadline for finishing the count from the end of July to the end of October and pushed the apportionment deadline

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Seven Interior state candidates to participate in forum hosted by environmental, racial justice groups | Local News

Seven of the 16 candidates running for election to Interior seats in the Alaska Legislature will be participating in a Climate, Jobs and Justice political forum hosted by a group of Alaska environmental and social justice nonprofits and organizations tonight.

The forum will be held online from 5-7 p.m. and is hosted by Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, The Alaska Center, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, Greater Fairbanks Chapter NAACP 1001, the Nanook Diversity & Action Center, Native Movement, Native Peoples Action and Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i.

The following candidates have confirmed plans to participate: 

House District 1 Democratic candidate Christopher Quist

House District 2 Democratic candidate Jeremiah Youmans

House District 4 Democratic Rep. Grier Hopkins

House District 5 Democratic Rep. Adam Wool

House District 6 Democratic candidate Julia Hnilicka;

House District 6 nonpartisan candidate Elijah Verhagen

Senate District B nonpartisan candidate Marna Sanford.

According to event organizers, an invite was sent to all candidates running for Interior seats in both the state House and state Senate. All seven Republican candidates and two nonpartisan candidates either declined to participate or did not respond to the invite for the forum, organizers said.

The forum will discuss issues ranging from climate action, workers advocacy, social and economic justice and healthcare access.

“The top priorities for the people of Alaska, including health care access, racial and economic justice, climate action, Alaska Native rights, and workers’ rights, don’t always get the attention they deserve. We’re excited to offer this nonpartisan forum to center these critical issues and expand the conversation with our community leaders,” said Rose O’Hara-Jolley of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i on behalf of the organizers.

To ensure proper precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the forum will be held online via Zoom. 

Community members interested in participating can register in advance at

bit.ly/ClimateJobsJustice

StateForum.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics. 

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Domestic abuse has risen during the pandemic. Groups like the House of Ruth are ready.

But when schools closed in March, she couldn’t go to her job as a school art therapist and the boys stayed home, watching the rage of their mom’s boyfriend build and burst.

“Because of covid, there was no escape,” she said. “And my sons saw the abuse. And the fear I saw in their eyes was the same fear I had in my eyes when I was little and put in foster care.”

Like this mom, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she was scared that her abuser would find her, thousands of others saw dangerous relationships worsen when the pandemic shrank their worlds.

It was her pastor who sensed the woman’s plight and pointed her toward the House of Ruth, where she could stay in a safe house.

Since the shutdown began in March, the House of Ruth has moved 16 women, many with children, into its emergency shelters, said Elizabeth Kiker, development director for the D.C.-based nonprofit organization.

That’s the same number it moved in last year during this time. Except this year, it had double the number of requests, she said.

So it’s perfect timing that House of Ruth this week opened Kidspace, a beautiful facility where these children — and the others who will follow as the pandemic drags on — have a place to safely play, learn and heal.

The same surge in abuse during the pandemic happened at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where radiologists found nearly double the “total number of victims sustaining injuries due to strangulation, stab injuries, burns or use of weapons such as knives, guns and other objects” this spring compared to the same period during the past two years, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.

The number of reported abuse cases, however, dropped by nearly half at the hospital, according to the study.

The paper trails aren’t being made, but the bodies of abused women are telling the real story. They’re trapped. And it’s harder to get help.

The counselors at House of Ruth knew this was going to happen — more abuse, fewer opportunities for escape. They’d have to find a new way to operate.

“Our staff was like doctors and nurses going into a war zone,” Executive Director Sandra Jackson said.

They received more calls for help as soon as the shutdown happened, but the counseling sessions were cut short — women didn’t feel safe talking while trapped at home with their abusers, who might overhear a call for help.

“We had to find a way to talk to them,” Jackson said. “So we helped people find a way to take a walk away and make the call, or we found a safe word they can use on the phone or text when they were in trouble, like telling them: ‘Say toilet paper if you need to talk right now or if you can’t stay there any longer.’ ”

The pandemic — and the high unemployment rate, evaporated savings, and the

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40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon’s use of coronavirus funds

A coalition of 40 organizations from across the political spectrum is calling for a congressional investigation into how the Pentagon used $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds.

In a letter to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the groups also urged lawmakers to consider passing a new bill to suspend the Department of Defense’s (DOD) authority to use the funding.

“We believe the Pentagon’s decision-making with these funds, as recently reported, violates congressional intent at minimum, and represents a significant breach of trust with the taxpayers who fund the military’s budget and its emergency spending,” the organizations wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hill ahead of its public release.

The letter was organized by progressive group Win Without War, the right-leaning National Taxpayers Union and the Project on Government Oversight.

“We believe that the select subcommittee should investigate when, how, and why the Pentagon decided that it could use these specific CARES Act funds in contravention of Congressional intent,” the letter said. “Any findings should be shared with the public to the maximum extent practicable. We would also ask that the select subcommittee consider recommending a rescission of DoD’s budget authority for this $1 billion fund in order to ensure Congress’s constitutional spending authority is not being violated.”

A subcommittee spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter, which comes after a Washington Post report Tuesday detailed how the Pentagon has used most of a $1 billion fund allocated by the CARES Act on defense contractors rather than medical supplies.

The DOD awarded contracts for jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms, among other military equipment, which critics argue is in contravention of the CARES Act stipulation that the funds be used to “prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.”

The Pentagon has defended itself, arguing the money was never intended to be restricted to medical supplies, that it kept Congress fully informed of its plans and that helping the defense industrial bases through the pandemic is an appropriate response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As indicated by recent reporting, there appears to be a misunderstanding by some about what the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES” Act) did and did not do with respect to the Department of Defense,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a seven-paragraph statement Wednesday.

“The CARES Act did not limit — nor did it intend to limit in its language — the use of Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III to only medical resources,” he added. “As part of the efforts to mitigate economic damage, the act allowed monies to be spent to support individuals and industries that had been impacted by COVID. This is exactly what DOD has done.”

While the Post report provided new details on the exact contracts the Pentagon has awarded, the department notified Congress in late May it planned to use $688 million of the funding to shore up the defense industrial base. Several news outlets, including the

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Democratic groups launch digital ad blitz to flip Texas Legislature

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A coalition of groups working to flip the Texas House is unveiling a $1.1 million digital ad campaign backing 11 candidates.

With Democrats nine seats away from the majority, the program targets some of the most competitive races, according to details first shared with The Texas Tribune. The beneficiaries include contenders such as Joanna Cattanach, the challenger to state Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, and Akilah Bacy, who is running for an open seat in Houston.

The members of the coalition include the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee. Also involved are the Future Now Fund, The People PAC and The Creative Resistance.

Each of the 11 candidates has been endorsed by at least one of the coalition groups.

The majority fight is drawing increasing national investment. The Democratic super PAC Forward Majority announced earlier this month that it would spend $6.2 million across 18 races, while the Republican State Leadership Committee said days later that it would plow more into Texas than any other state this fall and top the Forward Majority investment.

“I feel good about where we are,” NDRC campaigns director Garrett Arwa said in an interview. “I think that for us, the evidence is in the fact that we are rolling out a program of this magnitude, with the number of partners we are rolling it out with.”

Arwa said the ads will be “largely positive” and, in general, will spotlight the candidates’ backgrounds, biographies and qualifications. “This is very district by district, this is very candidate by candidate,” Arwa said of the messaging.

Here are the 11 candidates benefiting from the digital ad blitz:

  • HD-26: L. Sarah DeMerchant, who is running for the seat of retiring Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land.
  • HD-64: Angela Brewer, who is running against Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton.
  • HD-66: Sharon Hirsch, who is challenging Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano.
  • HD-67: Lorenzo Sanchez, who is running to unseat Rep. Jeff Leach R-Plano.
  • HD-92: Jeff Whitfield, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.
  • HD-93: Lydia Bean, who is running to defeat Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth.
  • HD-97: Elizabeth Beck, who is opposing Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth.
  • HD-108: Cattanach, who is opposing Meyer.
  • HD-112: Brandy Chambers, who is challenging Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson.
  • HD-134: Ann Johnson, who is running against Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston.
  • HD-138: Bacy, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston.

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